Cerabino: Parking lot sign shared by unlikely business neighbors

Ted Leverette was riding his bicycle on Northlake Boulevard when he spotted the parking lot sign.

“When I got home, I told my wife, ‘You’re not going to believe it,’” the North Palm Beach business consultant said. “I drove her in the car to take a look at it.”

The roadside sign in question is in the parking lot shared by a cremation business and a pool supply store.

The National Cremation Society has its name and logo on the bottom of the sign, while the Pinch a Penny Pool Patio Spa store has the top part of the sign, including the sign’s marquee, where the pool-supply store can manually create messages with removable black letters on a white background to announce its sales and promotions.

The current sign for the pool store says, “Grill days are here! 10% off.”

The nexus of the grilling promotion on a sign shared by a cremation service is what Leverette, the business consultant, called the sort of promotion that’s bound to help both businesses.

“You notice that sign,” he said. “That’s some savvy marketing. And I didn’t even know there was a cremation office there until now.”

But there was no intentional attempt at gallows humor or clever marketing, explained Jay Kach, the chief financial officer of the pool supply store. The two stores have been neighbors for less than a year.

“We’re just running a sale on grills right now,” he said. “We have Primo grills from Georgia on sale.”

Kach said a customer did come in this past week and commented on the sign. And a receptionist at the National Cremation Society office said that the messaging on the sign was noticed there as well.

“There are two companies here, and one has nothing to do with the other,” she said.

But when those two very-different companies share the same sign, it can create a bit of unintended cross-messaging.

The “grill days are here” message wasn’t the first time that a passing motorist in North Palm Beach might confuse the pool store promotion with cremation message.

“We change the signs about once a month,” Kach said.

A message on the sign this past fall advertised the pool supply store’s “Fill a bag sale.”

Which sounds even more ghoulish than the grilling season promotion.

And after perusing the inventory of the pool-supply place and its various possible promotions, I wouldn’t be surprised if future messages on the parking lot sign would take on some other unintended end-of-life overtones.

For example, I can see a “Whether in-ground or above ground, we’ve got you covered,” sign.

These pairings sometimes take a while to get settled.

This past year, The Palm Beach County Commission approved the construction of Motor City Car Wash next to the Rubin Memorial Chapel funeral home in suburban Boynton Beach.

At the time, I thought the car wash-funeral-home nexus was a good fit. After all, there are 45 Bible verses that deal with washing. The Old Testament is full of washing.

And I figured both businesses would learn a bit from each other. You know, maybe pre-need pricing of car washes and a cherry-scented interior option for caskets.

But so far, litigation over the move has kept the car wash from moving in.

I hope the cremation business and the pool-supply business can co-exist on their shared sign.

“It is a little strange,” said Kach from the pool store. “But we have the marquee.”

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